London Recap Part 4: Hampton Court

OK, so as a huge anglophile that is particularly Tudor obsessed, going to Hampton Court has always been a bucket list item for me.  Now that I have passed this obsession down to the kiddo, it is a big deal to her as well.

Hampton Court lies outside of London and was a pricey cab ride (I know we could have taken a train, but we didn’t want to, so there!).  The pricey cab ride gifted us with the sweetest most delightful man driving us to the court grounds.  I gladly paid and tipped him for the journey.  He was just lovely.

It was so cold for us valley girls, but in a word, the court and grounds were amazing!

20161229_153946

20161229_153521

 

20161229_131619
With our favorite gargoyles…

Once we entered the buildings, we got to tour Henry VIII’s apartments, throne room, private chapel, privvy and the waiting room for nobles.

The Scout in her natural state…

Henry and Anne, true love always!  Or not…

The throne room with actual throne for trying out.

Different kind of throne…

20161229_145253

View from one of Henry’s room as he plotted, planned and wished oh-so-hard for that boy child!

20161229_141550

Family portrait that his last wife, Katherine Parr, planned and had everyone sit for months as a gift to her husband.  He snuck behind her back and replaced her face with that of his third wife (and only wife to bear him a healthy son), Jane Seymour.  She didn’t know this until the portrait was unveiled in front of the whole family and court in attendance.  Nice guy.

20161229_140120

Probably the most famous portrait of Henry VIII.  It is life-sized and in the hallway that he stomped up and down basically terrorizing everyone at court with his changing desires and general craziness.  I’m pretty sure I would have just kept my head down and hoped for the best like everyone else did!  Also, this hallway is rumored to have the terrified ghost of his fifth wife, Katherine Howard, running screaming begging her husband for mercy before she was taken to the Tower and beheaded.  She did actually cheat on her husband, unlike Anne Boleyn, who did nothing wrong except give birth to a girl.  Sorry, I can do this Tudor history stuff all day…

20161229_131604

We had an amazing time touring the grounds at Hampton Court.  Next time, Happy New Year from London!

Love, Kim and Scout

 

Living Your Best Life

*This was originally posted in August 2016, but with the recent election woes and some other woeful things coming to light, I decided to repost this.  It is a nice reminder to myself as well to always live your best life, especially during tough times.  We are stronger together!  

As I continue to emerge from post-con fog and begin the work of organizing all the pictures and start preparing recaps of SDCC, I am constantly reminded of how I am truly living my best life now.  So, if you’ll allow me to get super personal for this post, I want to discuss what exactly that means.

20160228_121526
Here’s to your best life!  Cheers!

What is “Living Your Best Life”?  Well, there are as many ways to do that as there are people, so there is no singular answer to that question.  So, I’ll just tell you about mine.

My journey began in earnest three years ago.  My 20 year marriage ended, my father was dying; I had a good job, but it wasn’t a passion.  I had one friend that I didn’t share with my ex that lived locally to go and do things with, but she wasn’t into the same things as I was aka nerding out.  Basically, I was alone and sad and lost.  What the heck do you do to change things?  Here’s what I did.  I started taking chances.  Going outside my comfort zone.  I thought about what my best life would look like and began to build it.  I hired myself as architect.

_JDP3717
Have you seen my goals?  I know I left them somewhere… Photo: Justin Davidson Photography

I knew I wanted to start going to nerdy events and cons with a group of friends.  I was tired of going alone if my kid couldn’t join me.  I needed to show my kid how a grown woman handles her shit as well.  She is a huge motivator for me.

So Kim, you need friends.  So, go make some!  Easier said than done for someone with a major confidence slump going on, but I was architect and as such I needed to do the best job possible.  I joined meetup.com and picked events that interested me.  I got in the car by myself and went.  I walked into a room full of people that I didn’t know.  I walked up and introduced myself.  I had conversations with them.  I friended them on facebook and asked them to go places with me.  I cannot express how hard this was.  How scary this was.  Guess what?  I made friends and then made more friends.

I knew I wanted to cosplay.  I had no idea how to even begin to do that.  A friend asked me to join a cosplay group.  I did.  I picked a simple easy smash-up cosplay to start.  I cosplayed.  Then I cosplayed some more.  Am I the best cosplayer in the world?  Heck no!  Do I care?  Heck no!  I have fun with my friends.  I wanted professional cosplay pictures.  I got them done.  Did I know what the heck I was doing?  Nope, but hiring a great photographer that works with you and teaches you is GOLD! (hire the great Justin Davidson Photography here.)

I found that you have to just try things and be ready to accept that you might fail.  If you don’t ask, then answer is always “no”.  At least give yourself 50/50 odds!

I did go off the rails a bit last year, however.  I dated someone and after much caution and hesitation, with trust issues in play, allowed myself to fall head over heels.  I was all in.  I put myself on the back burner and really cheered this guy on because he was in a slump.  I really focused on encouraging him and in doing so, lost a bit of myself again.  However, you have to accept that you might fail.  I failed myself in this one.  That is on me.  After a year, I was dumped without notice or a reason.  That wasn’t my failure, but putting me on the back burner sure was!  So, simply put, don’t do that!  *Edit: I was actually the vicitm of a con in this “relationship”.  I was taken for thousands, so in addition to not putting yourself on the back burner, be careful out there!  However, you also have to be willing to forgive yourself when you screw up royally, like I did.  It is so easy to beat yourself up and think, “Well, this is what you get!”, but don’t. This one knocked me right on my ass for a while, actually.  I had to take a minute.  Whilst on said ass, I reevaluated what I had been doing before this relationship and where I got lost during the relationship.  I got back on track.  It wasn’t easy, but I learned a valuable lesson in self-care and self-love.  There is no substitute for it.  Don’t ever shortchange yourself!

20160508_154558
Nope, not doing that again!  Move along, Stark!

So, back up on my feet.   Back to being the architect of my best life.  I continued cosplaying, and upped my game by starting a cosplay page with the kiddo.  We applied for and got a panel at SDCC!  It was an amazing thing.  I continued my fitness journey (best self-care you can do!).  I started this blog with the kiddo.  We’ve had visitors from 40 countries so far!  Thank you, Brazil!  You guys really dig us and we dig you back, but look out for Australia and the UK, they are gaining on you in number of visits.

I wanted to have a job that was a passion.  I took another chance and contacted someone that I knew was thinking of starting a company in the nerdy field.  What do you know, he said, “Please join the team!”  I got a “yes”.  More on this in my recap posts from SDCC.  I can’t wait to really throw down and tell you about this!

20160723_135124
The Hero Within Team

So, after this best SDCC ever, I reflected on how far I’ve come in three short years.  I am the architect of my life and won’t accept anything but my best life from now on.  That might mean taking a crazy chance and falling on my ass, but I always get up.  Always.

Thank you all for being a part of this journey with me!  Whether you are a close friend, relative or someone that just visits this blog from time-to-time, you are a part of my best life, and I treasure your role in it!

20160724_140546
Thank you all!!!

Get out there and start building your best life.  My Dad always referred to it as, “finding your niche”.  I wish that for all of you.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments as well.  Scout and I love hearing from you.

Next time, SDCC recaps and ALL the pictures!

*Edit: next time, more from London including the London Eye, New Year’s Eve and Hampton Court!

Love, Kim and Scout

 

London Recap #3: Harry Potter Tour Part Two

After Dumbledore’s office visit, we continued our tour of the sets and props from the Harry Potter series.

We got to see all the horcruxes (sans Harry, natch) up close, including Nagini, which is just terrifying…

20161228_144816.jpg

Umbridge and her sea of pink outfits.  Shudder.

Then you round the corner and find yourself on Platform 9 3/4.  I tried so hard to get through that wall!

20161228_145233-1

20161228_145858.jpg

Some of the props from the films, including Gilderoy Lockhart’s books.  Mom fancies him!

Then you head to the backlot where the large props and sets are located.  There’s also a cafe with….wait for it…butterbeer ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So good!

Apologies for the quality of the video.  These were Facebook live videos and the connection from London wasn’t so great.

20161228_152456

Then on to Diagon Alley.  The real one.  This tour was so amazing!!!

20161228_152622.jpg

We had such an amazing time.  Next up, Hampton Court!

Until next time…

Love, Kim and Scout

London Recap #2

Our second day in Londontown was a trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour to see the sets, props and costumes of the Harry Potter films.

Besides the hour-long bus ride, the day was, ahem, magickal.

The second I walked through the double doors into the great hall, I teared up.  I thought Dumbledore’s office would get to me, but I didn’t even last that long!

20161228_141839.jpg

The tour continues through the various rooms of Hogwarts as well as the Burrow.

They also have a great collection of props, including the Triwizard Cup and egg “clue” for task 2.

20161228_143430 (1).jpg

We got to see Hagrid’s Hut as well.

We got to summon brooms for our first flying lesson.

Entering Dumbledore’s office was a dream come true for us!

We left our memories in the pensieve…

Just when you think you’ve seen the whole tour, there’s so much more!

Next time, I’ll show you some pics from the second half of our day!  Simply amazing!

Until next time,

Love, Kim and Scout

London Recap #1

OK, so the kiddo and I got to go on the trip of a lifetime, to London!  Going to London has long been a dream of ours, and we had the best time!

First, the plane ride…

First stop on our trip was to the Tower of London!

20161227_122809.jpg

The view from the Tower grounds to the Tower Bridge was amazing.  It was so cold, but totally worth it!

The site is not just where the torture happened and the head’s got chopped off, but the White Tower (the main building with the four spiers) was a palace at first, then a place for royal coronations and then finally became a prison to the kingdom’s most notorious criminals.  The museum is home to the crown jewels now as well (no pictures allowed in that room).  The site also houses suits of armor worn by Kings and noblemen, swords and weaponry of all kinds and the famous block and axe, the rack and other various torture devices that were shudder-inducing.

20161227_131437.jpg

20161227_130215.jpg

We also got to go into some of the cells where prisoners made elaborate carvings in the walls as they awaiting their fates.

20161227_134731

Please enjoy some great pictures from the day.  Enjoy!

20161227_150437

Love, Kim and Scout

RAHNAV Turns One!

This blog turned one year old today!  Scout and I wanted to thank you all for the amazing support over the last year as well as your encouragement.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

We can’t wait to bring you more geek fashion, cosplay and con news over the next year.  Coming up next will be our reports from our amazing trip to London.  Stay tuned…

Until next time,

Love, Kim and Scout